How to reduce your chances of getting asked for a discount

Some time ago I wrote a post about what to do when you get asked for a discount.

Few people handle this request well – most simply say yes, for fear of losing the job altogether if they say no. Some might try to negotiate, but end up discounting to some level. Few will ever say no, and their reasons for it, despite the fact discounting the job to the level expected might mean they’re not going to make any profit.

So what if you could reduce your chances of getting asked the question altogether? In my view, there are two ways to do this – the ‘quick fix’ and the ‘longer term fix’.

The quick fix

Those of you who have read some of my previous posts will know that I talk a lot about the importance of handing over control to the other person in any situation where you are trying to ‘sell’.

Stop producing credential statements

by Ben Paul

So you’ve got that big meeting. You’ve researched the client and you’re ready to meet them. All you need now is a nice big credential or capability statement telling them all about what you do and how great you are, right? No, wrong.

While it is tempting to have something up your sleeve for when the conversation dries up, and it may also act as a nice comfort blanket for you, the impact it may have is at best minimal. Realistically, no great meeting has ever concluded with the client saying “That’s great, now what I really need is something generic, and all about your company, so I can make my decision”

So why should you stop producing credential or capability statements?

  1. Too self-focused. They are inevitably all about you and your company. What you do, how great you are, how many employees you have, how many offices or even better, how you are global – wow! There is danger that you can come across as arrog [...]

Worried your pitch is boring? Do this one thing to set yourself apart.

By Keith Dugdale

I think we all pretty much know that the briefs clients issue with Requests for Proposals (RFPs) usually only tell about 50% of the story – if you’re lucky.

Often they don’t really state the full problem or outline the full scope. Often there are glaring holes, or unexplainable things. Often the brief does not reflect the needs and concerns of all interested parties internally. Often they’re just written really poorly.

One significant thing usually missing from many RFP documents is why the entity is planning the project they have gone to market for. This disconnect is significant. Unless you as the potential provider understand why they are doing the project there are two major risks:

1. You may miss out on the other 50% of the story.
2. You will not be in a position to challenge them if they have gone to market for the wrong project to achieve the ultimate aim – the why.

We all know, at least in theory, that w [...]

How to turn a losing bid into a win

So you lost a bid.

Unfortunately, most organisations lose more bids than they win. Many actually aim to lose bids, with target 60% win rates and the like. That’s like your favourite sporting team starting the season saying ‘We’re aiming to win 60% of our games!’. Fans would be horrified, and management and players would probably all be sacked. The intention, in bidding or sport, should of course always be to win everything we go for.

When firms do lose bids, their reaction then tends to be “let’s go and do a debrief and find out why we lost.” While there is certainly a lot to be learned from this, and potentially some benefit to the client if it’s done right, the people that benefit most from that dialogue are from the organisation who lost the bid. The client organisation doesn’t really gain anything (apart from po [...]

How should you respond to RFPs when you have no relationship?

I’ve recently noticed the same question being asked by many of my clients in regards to Requests for Proposals (RFPs). They want to know how to respond when a proposal comes into the market from an organisation that they really, really want to work with, but currently no relationship exists. This is a great question with a complex answer – which I will attempt to answer here, and also on the video below.

I, of course, will say that 10 times out of 10, if you have no relationship with the economic buyers/decision makers at the client organisation at the moment when the RFP comes out, you should not bid. But I’m also a realist and know that there is always a BUT or WHAT IF.

So, if you’re not going to say no outright, then the first and most critical question to ask yourself in determining whether or not to bidis can you get access to key decision makers before the decision is made? If, after evaluating this question you don’t believe that there’s [...]